Twelve years ago, Steve Whittingham of Fodders Restaurant in Truro stood on Lemon Quay and had a light-bulb moment that led to the birth of Cornwall Food & Drink Festival. And while the name has changed these days to the Great Cornish Food Festival, you can bet that Steve had no inkling at the time that the event he created would stand the test of time to become one of the nation's favourite food events, an annual pilgrimage for around 40,000 people from all over the UK and beyond, generating over £3m to the Cornish economy.
Now, we can proudly say that it's an award-winning festival too, after scooping silver in the Tourism Event of the Year category at the 2015 Cornwall Tourism Awards. During a glittering evening at Newquay's Headland Hotel, Ruth and Grace collected the award, presented by Redruth boy, Rory McGrath, and sponsored by Nixon Design.
The festival is our biggest event of the year and one that we work on permanently. Right now, for example, we're not only busy with plans for 2016 but putting thoughts together for 2017 and even beyond. Every year we try to bring something new to the picture, every year there are challenges, and every year bringing everything together on target becomes something of a tightrope walk, but we absolutely love it when it all comes together and we see crowds of happy faces, the theatres bursting at the seams, and tills ringing non-stop.
We receive wonderful feedback too, from our sponsors, exhibitors, chefs, presenters and visitors. Year after year, a massive 98% of people who come along consistently rate their experience as either good or excellent, and when we ask people what they think we could improve, over 40% simply say 'nothing'.
Thank you to everyone who has been a part of the festival over the years - the award is yours as much as ours - and we look forward to seeing you next year, when the festival will run on Lemon Quay from Friday 23rd to Sunday 25th September. .